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whatever, history.

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I was watching a show on the TV and, while this show simultaneously irks me and gives me all the tummy tingles, one of the characters gave one of the better quotes I’ve heard about history: “Whatever, history – you happened already. Let it go.” Thunderous. Applause.

As someone who thinks history is extremely critical to understanding who we are and where we will go, I should hate this. But honestly, it hit me like a tons of bricks and I died. Laughing, true, but also it sort of hit me how much we hold on to history instead of saying, “You happened already. Let it go.” It’s just that some things you can’t let go, can you.

I’ve loved stuff all my life. I hold on to so much; clothes, books, opinions, my vanity, old papers, traumas, ugly jewelry, anything that helps me remember my fucking history. I hold on to things because they tell me about people or myself or places or feelings. I hold on to ideas. I hold on to versions of myself that I want to be, hope to be, or wish I never was. I hold on to these things physically but also in my head. I’m constantly up there, digging through the storage boxes, rearranging the drawers, unfolding, refolding, stacking, discovering, perennially dodging Marie Kondo, wanting to throw shit away but stopping at the last minute to shove it back in the box in the part of the attic furthest from the ladder. I’ll get to it later.

The summer before last I started to become really concerned about dragging my history around with me. I felt too attached to it and to myself. I wasn’t really leaving much room for anyone else. I came up with a personal motto, a mantra that I hoped with help me let go of the things that I was holding. Helpful, humble, here. Three words that I wanted to be better at. I have a reminder that pops up on my phone every day: helpful, humble, here. To be less in myself and more present for others. But it pops up and I’ve stopped looking at it. I swipe it away because it’s in the way of a text or an email, a website, an app. I’ve gotten too used to it.

“Whatever, history – you happened already. Let it go.” It was a reminder for me of why I came up with my mantra in the first place. The less time I focus on myself, the more time I can focus on others. The less I time I spend building myself up, the more time I can spend building others up. The less time I spend focused on what has been (or what could be), the more time I have to focus on right now. I’m not going to succeed at this every day. But I can try.

So, whatever, history! You happened already! I don’t need to carry you around so much. I can let you go.



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